Friends?

How do we manage our way through the dark tunnel of a divorce to come out of the other side as friends? Is it possible? 

Is it necessary, is my bigger question.

From the beginning, I have been told that we should aim to make this as amicable as possible, so in the future we can be friends. The example always thrown onto the table usually goes something like, “you want to know that you can both be at your child’s wedding someday, and not shooting daggers across the room, from resentment of a bad divorce settlement. You want your kids to know that you can still get along, and be friends.” 

Or the best one for me, listening as my soon to be ex (with any luck and hope) say, with a catch in his voice, “I’d like us to still be friends when this is over.” Cue sad, deeply emotional music. Cut in for a close up, and capture those teary eyes. He’s expressing feelings! 

Friends? That’s what we’re shooting for, huh? Wow.

Odd for that to be a “goal” on our flipchart of ‘goals and concerns’ during mediation. (Which by the way, is a whole other world for our marriage, seriously) Isn’t that ‘goal’ usually the consellation prize in most breakups? You remember those early days of young love, don’t you? When you’d let him or her  down gently, by assuming the blame – it’s not you, it’s me – and promising that you “can still be friends”.

And why should I feel pressured to be his friend in the end? In case nobody has noticed, we weren’t really friends during our marriage. I wasn’t in his circle of trust and chosen companion to share in his fun times. I was his maid, his nanny, his travel agent, his pack mule. I was his Wizard of Oz hidden behind the curtain, taking care of the gritty details of our family life. I wasn’t his friend, no matter how much I tried.

And if I recall, I was told ever so bluntly, that I don’t have any friends, we have nothing in common or common interests and that I hate people. But now, by the grace of divorce, I am ready to make a friend. I am ready, or should be ready, to open my heart and accept his friendship. I suppose getting divorced is now our common interest?

Here’s the thing, I don’t care if we’re friends. Ever. I am an adult and I can conduct myself in a mature adult way, to get through any social situation including our child’s wedding day, for a day or more if necessary. I’ve been doing it for years. I’m a damn good actress and an even better liar when necessary.

And telling me that I need to, should be, want to be his friend for the sake of our family, smacks of telling me to play nice. Don’t be difficult. Don’t push too much, you could make things uncomfortable. 

Be a good girl and get along.

Guess what, the ‘good girl’ has gotten her teeth knocked in and her self esteem assaulted for the last time. She’s played nice too long and it’s gotten her into this mess of a marriage.

The good girl is dead. 

And this girl chooses her own friends, thank you very much.

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